Lori Lightfoot wants to make it easier to open a marijuana business in Chicago.
The mayor introduced an ordinance yesterday that would change some of the city’s complex zoning rules that govern where marijuana shops and grow facilities can be located. The timing is critical, as the state prepares to issue 185 new dispensary licenses, 119 of which would be eligible to locate in the city.
Under the proposed rules, the city would no longer be carved up into seven zones, with a lottery determining which applicants could locate in them. Lightfoot also is proposing to shrink the boundaries of the “no-fly” zone downtown, where marijuana shops are prohibited. The northern boundary of the exclusionary zone would move to Oak Street from Division Street. The other boundaries—from Lake Michigan to the Chicago River and/or Rush Street on the west and Van Buren Street to the south—remain unchanged.
Aldermen such as Brendan Reilly have pushed Lightfoot to open up all of downtown to weed shops, but so far the mayor hasn’t been willing to go that far.
Perhaps the biggest change would be to allow buildings zoned B3 and C1 to be used for marijuana businesses from the city’s